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Extraction of Liana Stems Using Geometric Features from Terrestrial Laser Scanning Point Clouds

Article

Han, T; S�nchez-Azofeifa, GA

NA

2022

REMOTE SENSING

14

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Lianas are self-supporting systems that are increasing their dominance in tropical forests due to climate change. As lianas increase tree mortality and reduce tree growth, one key challenge in ecological remote sensing is the separation of a liana and its host tree using remote sensing techniques. This separation can provide essential insights into how tropical forests respond, from the point of view of ecosystem structure to climate and environmental change. Here, we propose a new machine learning method, derived from Random Forest (RF) and eXtreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoosting) algorithms, to separate lianas and trees using Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) point clouds. We test our method on five tropical dry forest trees with different levels of liana infestation. First, we use a multiple radius search method to define the optimal radius of six geometric features. Second, we compare the performance of RF and XGBoosting algorithms on the classification of lianas and trees. Finally, we evaluate our model against independent data collected by other projects. Our results show that the XGBoosting algorithm achieves an overall accuracy of 0.88 (recall of 0.66), and the RF algorithm has an accuracy of 0.85 (recall of 0.56). Our results also show that the optimal radius method is as accurate as the multiple radius method, with F1 scores of 0.49 and 0.48, respectively. The RF algorithm shows the highest recall of 0.88 on the independent data. Our method provides a new flexible approach to extracting lianas from 3D point clouds, facilitating TLS to support new studies aimed to evaluate the impact of lianas on tree and forest structures using point clouds.

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